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Tutorial on how to make good sounds

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Hello folks,

 

I just received my Helix Floorboard and I'm really excited to get started. I auditioned the presets with my JBL LSR305 and... oh boy they sound like crap. There's obviously something wrong I'm doing because I heard many videos made with the Helix and they all sound better through the same speakers so it's matter of setting things up properly.

 

Where can I go to get a solid primer on how to create sounds for the Helix? I would like some help working with high gain sounds (think The Muse but also Corroded, Five Finger Death Punch) and some more spacey sounds a la Pink Floyd, Tycho etc...

 

Any tip is welcome!

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First thing I would do is make sure that the Helix setup and global settings matches your equipment. What are you monitoring the sound with? Guitar amp? PA/FRFR speakers? Headphones? Does your guitar have active pickups? While factory presets in general rarely match any user's preferences in taste and style, they should at least sound reasonable even if you don't like the style/FX being used.

 

One you get your overall settings right you can worry about tone building.

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I'm running my Helix floorboard through a pair of LSR 305's. On the LSR's, select +4 on the Input sensitivity and set Helix output to Line level.

 

Depending on how hot/loud your guitar pickups are consider turning on the Guitar In pad. From the manual: "If your guitar or bass has active or really loud pickups, you may want to turn this on. There's really no rule; use what sounds best."

 

I've it turned on just in case. My main axe is an Ibanez with active pickups. But honestly it didn't make an audible difference when switching from on to off and back. Zip. Also some users fiddle with the global eq settings (High pass/ low pass) - others don't and prefer to sculpture their sounds using eq in each preset.

 

As silverhead says the built-in presets should sound at least okay.

 

I've managed to get some decent High Gain sounds (for metal) with the Archetype and Cali amps using both IR's and built-in cabs. I prefer IR's though. A couple of tricks I use on all my presets: use the amp bass control to cut the low end out if you want a tight tone - you can always add low end with an eq block after the amp. Add a distortion block with zero gain/overdrive and tone+level set at noon+ at the beginning of your path to get more "attack" or "pick attack".

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It's kind of hard to troubleshoot a "sounds like crap" problem.  It might help to be a bit more specific about "crap".

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Don't be afraid of the Hi/Low cuts in the cab/IR blocks. Figuring out how to use those was probably the single biggest jump in my Helix learning curve. Remember that they can be assigned to Snapshots as well, so you don't have to have your screaming arena rock lead tone set the same as your sparkly clean tone! 

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Don't be afraid of the Hi/Low cuts in the cab/IR blocks. Figuring out how to use those was probably the single biggest jump in my Helix learning curve. Remember that they can be assigned to Snapshots as well, so you don't have to have your screaming arena rock lead tone set the same as your sparkly clean tone! 

 

Forgot to mention that. That's a really important point.

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Try not using one of the factory presets, and just put in an amp model and a cabinet model of an amp/cab that you are familiar with in real life (not modeled). Since you are familiar with that amp, you should know how the gain, master, etc affects the tone. Don't add effects until you get a core tone you are familiar with. 

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Oh man – this one is dear to me!  Of course what the folks said above is all great and helped me already.  I had my Helix about 6 weeks and only a couple weeks ago I was certain it was defective and a waste of money.  None of the factory presets were useable for me as is.  I don’t know why (my setup vs. theirs?) and it doesn’t matter to me, but I even bought some and felt the same way about them.  After studying this forum and other on-line resources I went from that to being thrilled with the Helix and tone/sounds I get (I can’t be happier with what I am doing with it and I’m playing/programming 4-6 hours a day with it).  My biggest problem was the fizz on clean tones and on distortion, it was unbearable.  I play a Strat and PRS, for reference and monitor my sound with Bose noise cancelling headphones.  A few things fixed my problems – I turned on guitar in pad and got some IRs and cut the highs at 3 kHz (you’ll find this recommendation all over this Forum, basically 3-5 kHz), and I use EQ before and after my amp to again manage the highs and lows, which folks here generally recommend cutting around 100 Hz.  I was doing this with Global EQ initially, but don’t do that now since I prefer to control the EQ for each patch independently, obviously.  There’s a lot of discussion on cabs vs. IRs and I it’s a matter of taste, but for my ears, as a guitar player a very long time in the digital realm, the IRs are more “alive†and work for my playing, which goes from jazzy to metal and power chords.  There are a lot of free IRs I found through the Forum that I like, and I bought some too.  My favorites are RedWirez and a lot of Forum users like 3Sigma and OwnHammer too, which I also have.  I’m happy to follow-up with you on this if needed.  I sound like I work for Line 6 but I don’t!  This Forum is the reason I can get more out of the Helix than I even hoped for before buying it and if I can help someone else, that’s would be great.

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If you think you're thrilled now, wait till you actually play it through some decent speakers or full range studio headphones.  The headphones alone are enough to explain why you weren't happy with what you were getting out of the Helix.  Those headsets are pretty good for regular music, but not exactly a flat, studio output which is what you really need to hear how well the Helix sounds...either really good headphones or preferably a decent FRFR powered speaker.  Then you can REALLY be amazed at how much of that tweaking you're doing now won't need to be done.

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I play my Helix through my small pa,speaker's are 2 Peavey 2x15 cabs,each with a horn of course,all i can say is i have the sound i spent year's trying to obtain.Clean's,crunchy,dirty,i couldn't be happier.Used to spend  hour's looking at gear {craigslist,musician's friend,ect},i don't look any more.The Helix has cured my G A S.

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I know this topic is old but to anyone reading when I first received my Helix I was sure I had been duped and all these people were insane and I could get better tone with an RP 360. I was extremely wrong and I'm glad I didn't give up. I have gotten IRs and I hardly use those now because I've learned how to use the helix to get what I wanted from it. I love it and no longer look externally for presets and IRs I simply make my own and they sound Vetter to my ears than anything I'll buy. Learn to really use the tool it is amazing.

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